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Romania stage biggest comeback in World Cup history to defeat Canada

The Romanians were 15-0 down in the second-half.

Mihai Macovei scores one of his two crucial tries late on for Romania.
Mihai Macovei scores one of his two crucial tries late on for Romania.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Romania 17

Canada 15

THIRD PLACE IN Pool D will be at stake when Romania round off their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against Italy on Sunday.

Canada will finish with the wooden spoon after squandering a 15-0 second-half lead this evening against the Romanians at Leicester City Stadium.

Gordon McRorie kicked Canada into an early lead with an 11th-minute penalty, before Romania were temporarily reduced to 14 players in the 20th minute when Catalin Fercu was penalised for not challenging for the ball as Nick Blevins went up for a catch.

Seven minutes before the break, DTH Van Der Merwe got in for his fourth try of the tournament as Canada extended their lead to 8-0, but McRorie was unable to add the extras.

With just four minutes on the clock after the restart, Jeff Hassler rode several tackles to battle his way over the line for Canada’s second try, with Nathan Hirayama assuming the kicking the duties to slot over the conversion and put Canada 15-0 ahead.

But Romania didn’t throw in the towel. Mihai Macovei crossed for a try in the 53rd minute which was converted by Florin Vlaicu.

The Romanians had another try disallowed shortly afterwards for a knock-on, but they continued to apply the pressure and, with Canada’s Jebb Sinclair in the sin bin, the second try eventually came in the 74th minute, with Macovei again driving over.

Vlaicu again hit the target with the conversion to reduce the gap to the minimum, setting up a nail-biting finish. With less than two minutes remaining, Vlaicu made no mistake with a high-pressure penalty to give Romania the victory and the biggest comeback in Rugby World Cup history.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool D - Canada v Romania - Leicester City Stadium Celebrations at full-time for Romania. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Romania scorers

Tries: Mihai Macovei (2)
Conversions: Florin Vlaicu (2)
Penalties: Florin Vlaicu (1)

Canada scorers

Tries: DTH Van Der Merwe and Jeff Hassler (1 each)
Conversions: Nathan Hirayama (1)
Penalties: Gordon McRorie (1)

ROMANIA: C Fercu, MV Lemnaru, PF Kinikinilau, FA Vlaicu, IC Botezatu, M Wiringi, F Surugiu; MA Lazar, O Turashvili, P Ion, V Poparlan, JP van Heerden, VN Ursache, V Lucaci, M Macovei.

Replacements: VN Calafeteanu for Surugiu (22), A Ursache for Ion (45), CM Gal for Wiringi (51), A Radoi for Turashvili (65), A Tarus for Lazar (74), D Carpo for Lucaci (77).

CANADA: HA Jones, J Hassler, C Hearn, N Blevins, D Van Der Merwe, NS Hirayama, G McRorie; HAW Buydens, R Barkwill, DP Wooldridge, BG Beukeboom, JN Cudmore, JL Sinclair, JI Moonlight, A Carpenter.

Replacements: DUQ Sears-Duru for Buydens (45), PM Mack for McRorie (49), CA Trainor for Blevins (49), HAW Buydens for Sears-Duru (54), DUQ Sears-Duru for Buydens (61), N Dala for Moonlight (63), J Ilnicki for Wooldridge (67), JG Pritchard for Jones (74).

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Paul Dollery

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